A Queensland man and his family have been identified as the victims of a horrific plane crash off the coast of Florida in the US, with a young girl and her mum being found dead by authorities.
The wreckage of the aircraft was found in the Gulf of Mexico by US authorities just after 2pm on Sunday (local time).
The occupants of the plane have been identified as former Gympie resident, 42-year-old Christian Kath, his wife Misty, 43, and their 12-year-old daughter Lily.
Venice Police Chief Charlie Thorpe told reporters on Monday that the plane was rented by the family from St Petersburg, Florida, on Saturday afternoon, with Mr Kath flying his wife and daughter to Venice, Florida.
“It appears they travelled here for dinner and intended to travel directly back to St Petersburg,” he said.
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Police began the search for the missing aircraft just after 10am on Sunday after the Federal Aviation Administration contacted Venice Municipal Airport about the overdue plane.
At around the same time that the search began, recreational boaters found the body of Ms Kath floating in the water about 4km off the coast of Venice.
The 12-year-old girl was found deceased inside the aircraft a few hours later.
Mr Kath has not yet been found.
“The search is continuing for the male,” Police Chief Thorpe said. “We are still working on it extensively.”
He told reporters that it was not yet clear what caused the plane crash.
The Gympie Times reported that the family had been living in the US for five years, with Mr Kath being the COO of clinical waste solution company Daniels Health.
The publication reported the couple’s other daughter, 10-year-old Harper, was at a sleepover on the night of the crash so was not on board the plane.
The family was reportedly planning to return to Australia soon.
A chilling Facebook post from Mr Kath just months before the tragic accident revealed he had only recently started flying planes.
On March 22, he uploaded a series of photos to celebrate “flying solo” for the first time since starting lessons in late December 2021.
At the time of posting he said he was “about halfway through” getting his private pilot licence.
“I flew solo for the first time today! Felt so proud to finally achieve something I’ve been wanting to do since I was eight years old,” he wrote.
“Thanks for putting up with my early morning lessons and late night studying Misty Kath; it will all feel worth while when we can fly to the Keys for a weekend away with Lily and Harper soon.
“Feel lucky to live and be learning to fly in such a beautiful part of the world!”
The search is continuing for Mr Kath, though authorities have indicated they hold little hope of finding him alive.
Story Credit: news.com.au